Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Paayaa - Slow cooked Goat leg curry

Paya / Paaya is a classic Pakistani dish made with lamb legs/ goat legs. Goat leg pieces are slow cooked over night on stove and then simmered in a onion, ginger and garlic based gravy. I pressure cooked them on low flame until they are soft tender and fall off the bone.
Paaya has a soup like consistency and best served with roti or naan.



To Slow cook / pressure cook

  • 500 Grams of Goat leg pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • Salt to taste

For the Gravy

  • 3 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 Green Cardamom
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Tablespoon Coriander powder
  • 1 Teaspoon red chilli powder

To grind to fine paste

  • 1 Medium sized onion chopped roughly
  • 2 Green chillies
  • 1 inch ginger piece
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds / khus khus
  • 1/2 Cup cilantro leaves along with stems
  • 10 mint leaves


1. Soak goat legs in hot water for 20 minutes. Clean and remove dirt / hair patiently. There will be so tiny hair on the leg pieces and you need to remove using a sharp knife. Use spoon and scrap and remove if the leg piece has any char on it.


2. After cleaning , wash the leg pieces in warm water 2 or 3 times with a big pinch of turmeric powder. This is done to get rid of gamey smell from the meat
3. Now, add the cleaned leg pieces along with the list of ingredients listed under 'To slow cook/ pressure cook' in a large pot. Season with salt. Add 5 cups of water. Close the lid of the pot and cook on medium flame for 3 hours.

Alternatively, you can pressure cook the leg pieces which is what I did. Add all the ingredients along with leg pieces and add 3 cups of water in a large pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 30 minutes on lowest heat setting for 20 to 25 whistles. Do not rush through this process or do not pressure cook on high flame. The leg pieces will be still raw/ hard to chew. It is very important to cook them slow on low flame until they are soft tender and just fall off the bone when you press them with your fingers

4. In a food processor, add all the ingredients listed under 'To grind to fine paste'  and grind it to fine paste without adding water
5. Prepare the gravy : In a large wok / pan heat oil. When the oil is hot, add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and fry for few seconds
6.Then add shallots and fry until they are soft


7. Add the ground green paste we prepared at step number 4 and simmer


8. Cook the paste until all water evaporates and the masala thickens and oil separates from the mixture
9. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder + 1/4 cup water and let the masala cook for 2 minutes


10. Once the masala thickens add 1 cup water and cook on high flame for 8 minutes until the gravy thickens and there is no water in the gravy. This is done to ensure that the green paste is cooked through well and there is no raw smell of masala and ginger garlic


11. Add the slow cooked leg pieces in the gravy and season with salt


12. Add 2 cups of water and cook the gravy until it reaches required consistency. I like paaya little runny / thin just like the consistency of a soup. However you can adjust the consistency as per your taste

13. Once done, switch off the flame and squeeze juice of one fresh lemon over the gravy

14. Serve piping hot with roti 

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